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Spine Surgery


When back surgery is your best option to relieve chronic pain or improve your mobility, choose UNM Health – New Mexico’s only provider of minimally invasive, endoscopic spine surgery.

Ask for a Referral

You’ll need a physician’s referral and a recent MRI or other imaging test results (obtained within the past 12 months) to schedule a consultation with a UNM Health neurosurgeon. For more information, talk to your doctor or call our neurosurgical coordinator at 505-994-7336. We’ll contact you within five business days of receiving your doctor’s referral.

Do I Need Back Surgery?

Your doctor may recommend surgery if conservative treatments, such as rehabilitative exercises and nerve blocks, don’t improve symptoms caused by conditions such as:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated discs
  • Radiculopathies (nerve root disorders)
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spine and spinal cord injuries
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Spondylosis (spine degeneration)

Surgery also may be part of your comprehensive care plan if you have a spine tumor.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Whenever possible, your neurosurgeon uses minimally invasive techniques to treat your condition. That means you may benefit from:

  • Smaller scars
  • Less tissue damage
  • Less pain
  • Faster recovery
  • Shorter hospital stay

Endoscopically Guided Laser Spine Surgery

At UNM Health, you gain access to neurosurgeons with experience performing endoscopically guided laser spine surgery. This advanced technique uses tiny tools a sixth of the size of those used in regular minimally invasive back surgery and up to 1/20th the size of what might be used in a conventional back operation. That means you need smaller incisions and may experience less risk of complications.

You’ll find endoscopically guided laser spine surgery at only a few hospitals in the country, including the Anthony T. & Eileen K. Yeung Center for Endoscopic Spine Surgery at UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center.

Spine Surgeries We Offer

Find the full range of spine surgeries at UNM Health, including:

  • Cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) disc replacement – Replaces a problematic disc with an artificial one
  • Cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) rhizotomy – Eliminates nerve roots to relieve pain and muscle spasms
  • Discectomy – Removes part or all of a disc
  • Spinal fusion – Fuses together two or more vertebrae
  • Spine decompression – Relieves pressure on your spinal cord and nerves
  • Spine reconstruction – Corrects the alignment of your spine
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery – Uses focused, high-dose beams of radiation to destroy tissue without making any incisions
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